The Ho Chunk

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The history of the Ho-Chunk is very complex. According to oral tradition the Ho-Chunk originated at the Red Banks by Green Bay. These Red Banks are assumed to be a sight on the Door Peninsula. Their language is related to the Chiwere branch of Siouan, which includes the Iowa, Oto, and Missouria tribes. These tribes acknowledge having broken off from the Ho-Chunk and moving to the West. The meaning behind their name though is quite fascinating. It can either mean “big voice” or “big fish”. In this sense the word “big” means ancestral or primordial. Although we know where they originated in Wisconsin, we do not know their place of origin before entering Wisconsin as well as their archeological antecedents in Wisconsin. When the French were first introduced to the Ho-Chunks, they were known as the Winnebago. This was the name by which they were known to their neighbors who spoke Algonkian. This was not uncommon for a tribe to be known by several different names by different people as the name related to the language that was spoken. The name Winnebago means “Stinking Water”. This name fits in relation to the waters around them. In Green Bay there were several smelly, marshy areas and the fish in this water died fast. Some of these waters may include The Fox River and Lake Winnebago, which are both in the Fond du Lac area today. In 1816, parts of the tribe signed the first treaty with Americans pledging both loyalty and peace. Later parts of the tribe went to
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